On-farm grain drying and storage have changed significantly as the capacity of equipment used and the amount of grain being handled and stored on farms have increased, according to North Dakota State University Extension Service agricultural engineer Ken Hellevang.
Here is some advice on how to stay safe while working with grain:
* Never enter a bin while unloading grain or to break up a grain bridge. Flowing
grain will pull a person into the grain mass, burying the individual in a few
seconds. A wall of grain can collapse without warning and cover a person.
* Never enter a grain bin without stopping the auger and using the
"lock-out/tag-out" procedures to secure it. Use a key-type padlock to lock the
auger switch in the "off" position to assure that the equipment does not start
automatically or someone does not start the equipment accidentally.
* Even low-level exposure to dust and mold can cause symptoms such as wheezing,
a sore throat, nasal or eye irrigation and congestion. Higher concentrations can
cause allergic reactions and trigger asthma episodes and other problems.
Hellevang recommends the minimum protection should be an N-95-rated facemask.
This mask has two straps to hold it firmly to the face and a metal strip over
the nose to create a tight seal.
Precautions such as these are important to consider when adding or expanding grain handling and storage facilities.